REC, PFC to aid revival of small hydel projects: Piyush Goyal


Vadodara: State-owned lenders Rural Electrification Corp. and Power Finance Corp. will work out a revival package for small hydel projects which are stalled, Union minister for power Piyush Goyal told reporters after a two-day meeting of state power and mines ministers in Vadodara.

The bailout scheme will provide the required capital to take the stalled projects to completion if they meet certain criteria of viability.

“Many small hydel projects are stalled for reasons beyond their control. REC and PFC will work out a revival scheme,” Goyal said.

State ministers also arrived at a consensus to classify hydroelectric projects (of up to 100 megawatt) as renewable energy. At the moment, only hydel projects of up to 25 MW are classified as renewable energy. Raising this bar will make larger hydro projects eligible for selling power to distribution utilities under their renewable purchase obligation. Although hydel projects offer cheaper power over a long period, it could be a bit costly in the initial years during which lenders who fund nearly three-fourth of the project recover their dues.

India has a 175 gigawatt (GW) clean energy target to be achieved by 2022 from about seven GW now, out of which only hydel projects of up to 25 MW are included as renewable energy.

The government will accordingly raise the 175 GW clean energy target to be achieved by 2022, keeping its other components like 100 GW of solar power to be achieved untouched, Goyal said.

Power secretary P.K. Pujari said the code for power transmission will be fine tuned to ensure that renewable power supply does not suffer. Being dependent on weather, renewable power has certain degree of uncertainty for which the grid has to be prepared.

State mines ministers and the central government decided at the meeting to auction about 90 mineral leases before the end this financial year, said mines secretary Balvinder Kumar.